Beijing: China pressed North Korea on Thursday
to thoroughly probe the firing by its border guards and
"severely punish" those responsible for the killing of three
of its citizens last week, in a rare formal complaint from
Beijing to its close communist ally Pyongyang.
China appeared dissatisfied with Pyongyang’s
explanation that the firing was "accidentally" caused and
called for severe punishment for those responsible for the
deaths on June 4.
"China demands the Democratic Peoples Republic of
Korea, (DPRK) thoroughly investigate the incident, severely
punish those responsible for it, and properly deal with issues
arising from it," China’s Liaoning provincial government
bordering North Korea said today.
The firing came as a shock here as North Korea is
regarded as the closest ally of China and dependent on it
importing weapons and daily necessities.
The incident took place in early morning of June 4
when some residents of China’s Dandong city, who were
suspected of crossing the border for trade activities, were
shot by DPRK border guards.
"China attaches great importance to the incident and
immediately lodged solemn representations to the Democratic
Peoples Republic of Korea, (DPRK)," the provincial government
said in a statement.
DPRK border defence authorities had earlier claimed
that an initial investigation showed the shooting was
"accidental", the statement said.
The DPRK expressed sorrow for the deaths in the
incident, and extended condolences to families of the deceased
and the injured, official Xinhua news agency quoted the
statement as saying.
"The DPRK border defence authorities said they would
further investigate the incident and prevent such things from
happening again," the statement said.
Chinese foreign ministry said on Tuesday that Beijing
lodged strong protest with North Korea in this regard and
called for investigations.
Dandong is a major shipping point and rail link for
goods going into and out of North Korea from China, far
removed from the more isolated parts of the border where many
impoverished North Koreans have crossed over to China on their
way to seeking asylum in South Korea.
The only time China chided North Korea was when it
conducted the nuclear test close to China’s border causing
tremors in some of its border towns.